The BlackBerry Pearl 8110 is the latest BlackBerry to hit our shores and follows on from the Pearl 8120 which was released locally last November. The 8110 isn't so much an updated model as the two handsets are virtually identical, excluding the fact that the 8110 includes a GPS chipset, but is without the Wi-Fi hardware found in the 8120.
GPS vs Wi-Fi
This is basically the only decision to be made when choosing between these Pearls. The handsets are otherwise identical, including very similar price points — AU$699 for the 8110 and AU$659 for the 8120. While this is ultimately a matter of personal choice, we choose the 8120's Wi-Fi as the way to go for a few simple reasons.
Firstly, the Pearl series, like most BlackBerrys, is lacking 3G data speeds which, as we stated in the review of the 8120, is a travesty for a business-focused handset. Wi-Fi is the fall-back for professionals who need fast downloads to their phones, although this solution requires a Wi-Fi hotspot, and probably isn't as useful for people on-the-move. That said, business people who travel frequently may prefer the GPS receiver in the 8110 to begin with.
Our second criticism of GPS on the 8110 is the limited availability of mapping software. At the time of writing the 8110 is available exclusively through Vodafone and comes with. Compass is a decent mapping solution with a few nifty features, but if you're looking to switch to another mapping software, you'll find it very difficult to purchase alternatives which map Australian roads that are compatible with BlackBerry's operating system.
Perhaps the strongest reason we're leaning towards Wi-Fi over GPS is because it's possible, and affordable, to purchase a Bluetooth GPS receiver to use with the 8120. In fact, Vodafone sells its Compass software bundled with a Bluetooth receiver, as do many others. There's no such option for adding Wi-Fi to the 8110 if you decide you need it down the track.
For more information regarding our impressions of the 8110, be sure to read the full review of the BlackBerry Pearl 8120.